When my mother flew
across the Atlantic, in autumn 1979,
the flight attendant served her a croissant
like two conch shells
placed open-end-together
on the breakfast tray.
When my mother, pointing, asked,
what is it?
the word, croissant
which she could not have spelled—
curled unfamiliar
in her lexicon. She left the bread uneaten.
Alarmed by its flaking texture,
she thought it had come from the sea.

Because she’d leapt in cotton sari
on the left side of the road to
catch moving busses
on Kerala hills, had
ridden rickshaws, paid a fist
of rupees to a stubbled haggling driver
who spat tobacco at her Bata shoes,
driving down the 404 felt like adjusting
an overhead transparency,
slightly left and slightly right,

I can’t speak the language
that she dreams in.
At Winners
we pass statues of decorated
elephants, in her eyes that recognition
like opening a box of winter clothes
from last year,
that touch of joy—

oh, I remember you.

Dusty Roads Walked by Tia Mushka

Dusty Roads Walked by Tia Mushka

About Shashi Bhat

Shashi Bhat's novel, The Family Took Shape, was released from Cormorant Books in 2013. Her stories have appeared in PRISM international, EVENT, The New Quarterly, The Threepenny Review, The Missouri Review and other journals. She has been a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize, for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award and was longlisted for the Journey Prize. She teaches creative writing at Douglas College and is the editor of EVENT magazine.

About Tia Mushka

Tia Mushka writes: I am a writer, illustrator, artist and mapmaker living in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada. My childhood was spent surrounded by trees, tall grass and fireflies in rural Ontario. Now I am surrounded by the ocean. I studied fine art and geology in university and graduated with a BFA in sculpture. Taking these two loves, I travelled to Pietra Santa, Italy where I learned how to carve stone. I started writing and drawing for children when I had my own family and fell in love with children's literature. I recently completed the prestigious SCBWI Nevada Mentorship program with the amazing Jim Averbeck as my mentor. My current project is an illustrated Young Adult novel, although a paintbrush and watercolour is never far away.

One thought on “Recalibrating

  1. Linda

    Tia is my cousin. She’s an awesome artist and illustrator. I’m happy to see that she was featured.


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